September 27, 2020

Organizers of France’s Oscars Resign, 2 Weeks Before Ceremony

On Feb. 11, a host of French feminist organizations said they would protest this year’s award ceremony because of Mr. Polanski’s nominations. “If rape is an art, give Polanski all the Césars,” they said in an open letter to the newspaper Le Parisien.

“With these 12 nominations, the world of cinema gave frank and unconditional support to a rapist on the run,” the letter added.

The accusations around Mr. Polanski are only one of several sex abuse scandals causing a stir in France’s cultural world. Last year, Adèle Haenel, a well-known actress, said that from age 12 she was sexually harassed by the director Christophe Ruggia on the set of “The Devils,” a 2002 film about orphans in a children’s home. He denies the accusation.

In January, Gabriel Matzneff, an author who had long written about sexual contact with girls and boys in their early teens, also came under scrutiny after one of his victims, Vanessa Springora, said Mr. Matzneff had abused her. On Feb. 12, Mr. Matzneff was charged with promoting the sexual abuse of children, in a case filed by l’Ange Bleu, an anti-pedophilia organization.

The letter from the 400 filmmakers about the César Academy did not mention these scandals, but focused on the poor leadership at the organization. Its 4,700 members pay annual fees, the letter said, but are only able to vote in the awards rather than decide how it is run. “We have no voice,” the letter added.

The signees also criticized Alain Terzian, the academy’s president, for events around a January dinner associated with the awards. Young actors who attended the dinner were allowed to bring along an older star of their choosing, and two asked to go with Claire Denis and Virginie Despentes, both well-known feminists. The academy refused to invite them.

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